Sinclair Broadcast Group has launched Sinclair Original Programming (SOP), a division devoted to the development of entertainment and business-to-consumer content. Arthur Hasson will be chief operating officer and leader of the division, reporting to David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair. Hasson will continue as general manager of Sinclair's stations in Harrisburg.
Initially, shows will be developed for the growing broadcaster’s MyNetworkTV and CW affiliates and will air in primetime and afternoon time periods on the weekend. The business-to-consumer content includes infomercials.
Sinclair closed on its Allbritton acquisition earlier this summer, and announced a new, considerably smaller batch of acquisitions stemming from the Media General-LIN merger. It reaches 38.2% of U.S. television households, including pending transactions.
"Combining content ownership with our premier distribution spectrum of over-the-air television and related digital/web platforms is one of the last key components in securing the value of our platform," said Smith. "Controlling our content and its development not only reduces our dependency on others, providing a hedge against network disruptions, but allows us greater economic upside potential.”
Sinclair’s original programming includes station-level news, Ring of Honor Wrestling and the recently launched American Sports Network.
“The media landscape is evolving and controlling distribution, as well as the content delivered through that platform, is even more imperative in order to remain competitive,” said Smith.
From 2009 to 2011, Hasson was cocreator and executive producer of Crowd Sourced Hero, Subway® High School Heroes and various other entertainment programs. Prior to that, he was COO and cofounder of music creation software firm ClubCreate. From 1990 through 2005, he held various roles at NBCUniversal Television Distribution.
“By developing original content in connection with talented program producers, we can provide cost effective, flexible projects that can be readily monetized,” said Hasson. “In addition, we believe there is potential to distribute shows beyond our platforms both domestically and internationally. From the creative side, our large footprint of stations allows us to test concepts and talent efficiently."
Bill Butler, VP of programming and promotion, will continue to manage the syndicator and studio relationships, among other duties.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.